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  • Noticing the impeccable clear blue sky and friendly clouds, and the sweet purple flower bushes around the OU fountain, I started to wish that I wasn't alone on the sidewalk, so I could nudge the person next to me and say, Look: this day: September 22, 2012: can you believe how good we have it?

    It made me think of a Yannis Ritsos poem with the line: "if you too don’t see, it will be as if I hadn’t -" a line that bothered me in my early 20s because I didn't believe we should need anyone to confirm our reality; we should know we have seen, and trust in our vision. I thought.

    But today I was more sympathetic to Ritsos. I wanted a sky buddy. Since there was nobody there, I imagined: I searched with my mind's eye around town: I felt/wished/hypothesized that at that same instant several other eyes were taking in the same blue sky around Athens. And I kind of saluted those strangers.

    It made me think of Cowbird. I think that on Cowbird people willingly become each other's "you", for a moment. We are a collection of witnesses.

    Here's the Ritsos poem in full (translation by Edmund Keeley):


    I want to show you these rose clouds in the night.
    But you can’t see. It’s night - what can one see?

    Now, I have no choice but to see with your eyes, he said,
    so I’m not alone, so you’re not alone. And really,
    there’s nothing over there where I pointed.

    Only the stars crowded together in the night, tired,
    like those people coming back in a truck from a picnic,
    disappointed, hungry, nobody singing,
    with wilted wildflowers in their sweaty palms.

    But I’m going to insist on seeing and showing you, he said,
    because if you too don’t see, it will be as if I hadn’t -
    I’ll insist at least on not seeing with your eyes -
    and maybe someday, from a different direction, we’ll meet.

    *Amazing side note: The website I got this poem from belongs to a man named Anthony Frame-- a stranger to me. I clicked on his About section just now, and it turns out he's a poet living in Ohio. I am also a poet living in Ohio. You, too.
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